Doc's 5 Tips on Drinking Better for Less


Monday, September 26, 2016

Aging Wine Under the Sea

The discovery of intact wine found on sunken ships after many years has led some producers to experiment with aging it under the sea. Aside from space limitations at the winery, they believe that the oceanic factors of consistent temperature, lack of light, relative lack of oxygen, underwater pressure, and tidal movement will affect their wines interestingly. Some age finished bottles (with both cork closures and crown caps), others, barrels. Results vary from wines maturing quicker; having more complexity; being fresher with more tannin; and having more, earthy, saline notes. The extra work involved makes these wines much more expensive. So is it a gimmick or a worthwhile venture? I guess only time will tell.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Social Aspect of Wine

Why is wine such a social drink? Aside from the obvious aspect of promoting relaxation, there are several reasons. One could argue that these apply to most alcoholic drinks, but not as much as to wine. This is most likely due to the fact that wine, more than any other alcoholic drink, is usually consumed with food and breaking bread with others is a very, special, social phenomenon. Sipping with others like this allows for social interaction, promotes conviviality building and strengthening interpersonal bonds and connections between people that endure. It breaks down barriers allowing communication between those of different cultures, races and social status. Generally, it implies friendship, generosity and the joy of sharing something.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Ordering Wine in a Restaurant

Ordering wine in a restaurant can be intimidating. Here are some helpful hints. Decide on what you want to eat first before selecting a wine match. If you’re the only one in your party drinking wine or plan to have only a couple glasses, don’t order a bottle. Order by the glass instead. Avoid ordering the “house wine” as it usually has the highest mark-up and, most of the time, is mediocre. You are better to “drink up”, spending a few more dollars delivering a better sip and more value. Don’t order wine that is extremely alcoholic, overly oaky or too tannic as it will overpower the taste of the food. Finally, don’t be shy about asking the wait staff or sommelier for suggestions and guidance.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Celebrity-Owned Wineries

What does a movie star, professional athlete, iconic musician or other celebrity do when they have more money than they know what to do with? They invest in a winery, of course. The majority of celebs who do this enjoy wine, but don’t make the wine or run the winery. They’re merely looking for a tax write off and something else to display and extend their brand. Actors like Dan Aykroyd, Antonio Banderas, Emilio Estevez and many others have done so. Professional athletes such as Mike Ditka, Ernie Els, Wayne Gretzky, Mike Weir and Jo Montana have taken the plunge. Musicians, the likes of Mick Fleetwood, Madonna, Dave Maththews and Olivia Newton-John own wineries. Even Donald Trump has one in Virginia.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Wine in Barbershops/Beauty Salons

Hold on to your hats folks, California may soon be serving wine and beer in establishments where you get your hair cut or done. The state is considering allowing this, with some restrictions, of course. There must be no extra charge or fee for the wine or beer, the establishment’s license must be in good standing, and the servings limited to specified amounts. Seems civilized to me! As expected though, there is some resistance to the idea by the California Alcohol Policy Alliance, a group who amongst other things, fights against the harmful practices of the alcohol industry. Nonetheless, this would certainly make going to the barber or salon much more interesting. A little off the top and a glass of Chardonnay, please!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Wine in a Box

Boxed wine has never had a good reputation, synonymous with poor quality. Too bad…the concept itself is great. The reduced packaging, production and transport costs are cheaper; the plastic bladder in tetra-packs prevents oxygenation and the pressure to finish a whole bottle; they’re environmentally friendly (renewable, recyclable and biodegradable) and they eliminate the possibility of “corked” wine. Although they’re not great for wine that needs aging, most boxed wine is meant for immediate consumption. Originating in Australia, the packaging is now all around the world. Some decent ones are out there. For best results look for those that have a vintage date, grape variety and/or specific appellation on the package.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Crisp Wine

The term “crisp” when it comes to wine has a very specific meaning. It usually refers to dry, young, whites with good, pronounced acidity. Acidity is the sour component experienced on the sides of the tongue like biting into a Granny Smith apple and all that tingling sensation you get. These wines make great aperitifs as they get the gastronomic juices flowing and give you an appetite. They’re fabulous in the warm weather because they refresh. They’re also great with oily, fried and salty foods as the acid cuts through the coating these foods leave in your mouth and cleanse the palate. Crisp wines generally do not age well, but are meant for early consumption.